NASCIO Releases New Survey on the State Chief Privacy Officer Role

LEXINGTON, Ky., Thursday, March 21, 2024 — The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) today released The Shifting Privacy Paradigm: State Chief Privacy Officers’ Evolving Roles and Persistent Realities. As the landscape of privacy regulations continues to evolve, the role of the state chief privacy officer (CPO) becomes increasingly vital in safeguarding citizens’ data privacy. This survey is an update from NASCIO’s last CPO survey published in 2022.

“As states grapple with the complexities of privacy governance, state CPOs play a pivotal role in safeguarding citizens’ privacy rights and fostering trust in government operations,” said Amy Glasscock, program director, innovation and emerging issues.

The survey reveals a movement in the direction of increased authority and establishment of the role in state government. With privacy emerging as a critical policy priority, spurred by the absence of comprehensive federal legislation, an increasing number of states are taking matters into their own hands, enacting privacy laws and officially appointing CPOs to oversee their implementation and develop privacy programs.

Key findings of the survey include:

  •  The prevalence of the title “chief privacy officer” has surged to 88%, indicating the growing recognition and institutionalization of the role within state governments.
  • State CPOs are increasingly reporting to administrative officials rather than CIOs or CISOs, reflecting a broader understanding of privacy beyond technology-centric domains.
  • Despite the prioritization of privacy, only 24% of respondents reported having an established privacy program, highlighting ongoing challenges in program development and implementation.
  • A lack of dedicated funding and authority remain significant hurdles, with only a fraction of CPOs having a defined budget for privacy initiatives and enforcement powers.
  • Top challenges identified by CPOs include lack of authority, funding, and qualified staff.

The findings of the survey underscore the urgent need for states to prioritize privacy governance, allocate dedicated funding, and empower CPOs with the authority needed to enforce privacy policies effectively. By heeding these recommendations, states can navigate the evolving privacy landscape and uphold the fundamental right to privacy for all citizens.

Meredith Ward
Deputy Executive Director
National Association of State Chief Information Officers
[email protected]